Frontdesk Secures $6.8 Million Series A Financing Round

Founded in 2017, Frontdesk, the tech-enabled short-term apartment rental startup transforming the way people experience travel, announced it has completed a $6.8 million Series A raise in a combination of debt and equity. This financing comes on the heels of the company’s $2.75 million bridge round, raised in summer 2019.

Before the coronavirus crisis, we always felt that we had the most supportive investors imaginable,” said Kyle Weatherly, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Now we are absolutely certain of it. Not only did they make good on their initial commitment, but they increased it by almost $3 million. This provides us the capital to not only survive the crisis but it will also allow us to accelerate our growth again when travel rebounds.”  

Frontdesk’s focus on sustainable growth is another key contributor in helping the company weather the coronavirus crisis. The company is not immune to the effects of the virus, having recently laid off 35 of its 241 employees; however, Frontdesk already sees positive indicators of increased travel demand. The company hopes to rehire those employees, in addition to dozens of new employees, this summer.

“We are opening a new chapter of Frontdesk history,” said Jesse DePinto, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer. “We may have been the underdog before, but now Frontdesk is positioned to be an industry leader. We would not be here today if it wasn’t for the dedication of our employees, the faith of our investors, and the support of our real estate partners.”

The Comforts of an Apartment with the Conveniences of a Hotel 

Frontdesk currently operates in 28 cities with over 500 fully-serviced apartment suites. Unlike vacation rentals, Frontdesk manages the entire guest experience from end to end, from their in-house technology stack to the in-house cleaning operation. Frontdesk proudly boasts an average of 4.8 out of 5.0 guest review score on their over 60,000 stays to date, ranging in length from 1-night to 6-months. Their spaces are on average 3x the size of a typical hotel room, offering more space and comfort to their guests.

“This place was amazing. I’m still impressed with how big it was,” said Frontdesk guest Anna. “The location was perfect, it was close to everything we needed. Communication was spot on and available at any time you needed it. We would go back in a heartbeat!” 

8 Best Things to Do With Your Family During Quarantine

Many states have enacted stay-at-home orders and families across the country are adapting to a new way of life. While many schools and businesses have closed and transitioned to a remote setting, it has allowed for some unprecedented quality time which has people asking: how do I keep my kids (and myself) from going stir crazy? Whether you’re learning to balance life working from home, or you’ve simply run out of ways to entertain your children, we’ve got the best tips for you.

1. Take a Virtual Field Trip - No Permission Slip Needed!

Have you ever dreamed of visiting far off places like the Louvre in Paris, or seeing Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park? Now’s your chance! Take the tour of a lifetime right from the comfort of your couch. Several of the world’s best museums and parks have stepped up to offer educational activities for you and your children, including the Guggenheim in New York, the British Museum in London, and many more!

2. Watch Zoo and Aquarium Live Streams

Maybe museums aren’t your thing, but the free virtual experiences don’t stop there! Some of the nation’s finest zoos and aquariums have also stepped up to offer hours of free live streamed entertainment for your family. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago did a live stream of their penguins roaming the empty aquarium at night. The Georgia Aquarium, National Aquarium, and the Atlanta Zoo are offering live stream footage of some of their most popular exhibits. Additionally, the Seattle Aquarium has an awesome 30-minute virtual tour. The options are endless when it comes to virtual experiences you and your kids can take advantage of during your time at home.

3. Take Homeschooling to the Next Level with E-Learning

Thankfully we live in an age driven by technology. While your children may not be able to physically attend school, many schools have provided e-learning tools and curriculum to utilize while they’re at home. Other companies have stepped up to offer their e-learning services at discounted rates, too. ABC Mouse is offering its services free for 30 days. Khan Academy, Prodigy Math, and Duolingo are also offering free resources to help keep your children engaged in an educational way while they’re out of school.

4. Get Active Indoors

Exercise has positive benefits for your body, mind, and spirit. But how can you work out when the gyms are closed and going outside is discouraged? Though it may feel like you’re stuck inside, the CDC actually recommends going out and exercising (as long as you stay six feet away from other people). Getting active could be as simple as taking a dance party break with your littles, or as complex as setting up an outdoor obstacle course. The options are endless and, luckily, the choice is yours!

5. Ditch the Screen and Get Creative

Remember the days before devices? We’re talking about pillow forts, puzzles, playing cops and robbers, and enjoying indoor picnics. Take advantage of this opportunity to unplug and take a trip down memory lane while sharing some of your favorite childhood activities with your own children. 

6. Plan a Family Movie Night

Movie night is an easy way to get the whole family together. There are countless ways to catch a new flick. With apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney + at your disposal, your options are nearly limitless when it comes to what movie to watch. Take movie night a step further and create a special themed snack to go along with the film. We promise it’ll be a hit! Whether you decide on a cheesy family-friendly comedy or the newest animated film, it’s time to put your comfy clothes on, grab some popcorn, and start watching! 

7. Create a New Tradition

Since you and your family are spending so much time together, it is an opportune time to create a new family tradition. This will bring the whole family together and make you feel more bonded in these troubling times. Start a thankfulness jar that each member of your family can add to every week, or create a DIY meal that you can all make together every year. The options are limitless and you can get as creative as you want when starting a new tradition. 

8. Start Planning your Next Family Vacation

When all of this is said and done, it’s safe to say that we’ll all be in need of a well-deserved vacation. Why not start planning your trip now? Take some time to visit one of our great Frontdesk locations with your family. If you enjoyed one of the above-mentioned virtual museums or aquariums, consider visiting in person. Take a trip to Charlotte and go to Discovery Place, an awesome interactive museum with fun exhibits that both you and your kids are sure to enjoy. Explore all that the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has to offer, or visit the Alamo in San Antonio and discover some unique Texan history! No matter where you go, Frontdesk has you covered with a great place to stay in the best locations

We hope these tips help add a little spice to your life during these uncertain times. While going from your normal 9-5 to being home with your family 24/7 can be an adjustment, there’s no time like the present to begin creating new traditions and memories with your children. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be the first to hear about Frontdesk news and special deals, and share with us some of your favorite ways to pass the time. From all of us at Frontdesk, stay safe and stay home.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Most Popular U.S. Museums

The “new normal” of staying home can quickly turn to boredom. At a certain point, you’ll be looking for something to break up the monotony of Netflix binges and endlessly scrolling through social media. Many museums have begun providing virtual tours and online offerings during this time, so you can still get a little culture and education while you’re sheltering at home. You don’t even have to leave the couch! Here are a few virtual museum tours that we recommend.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Courtesy of Pixabay

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York City is the largest art museum in the United States and the third most visited in the world. It is famous for hosting the annual Met Gala as well as for its extensive collection of art. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, including European, African, Asian, modern American, and ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian. The museum is also home to collections of costumes, musical instruments, and antique weaponry.

Much of what the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers can be accessed online. You can take a virtual tour from the comfort of your home with immersive 360° videos that allow you to explore some of the museum’s iconic spaces, like the Great Hall. You can view The Met Collection, which includes more than 470,000 objects, online; browse at your leisure or take advantage of the highlights chosen by museum curators. The museum also has audio guides, downloadable catalogs from past exhibitions, and educational programs.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (the Guggenheim), also located in New York City, is an art museum dedicated to Impressionist, post-Impressionist, modern, and contemporary art. The museum itself is also a work of art – a cylindrical building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright with an infamous spiral rotunda. The Guggenheim is home to about 8,000 permanent pieces from the late 19th century through modern day.

Over 1,700 of those works – by more than 625 artists – are featured in the Collection Online, a searchable database of the selected artworks. You can take a virtual tour of the Guggenheim Museum or learn more about the history of the building by listening to their audio guide. The Guggenheim also has an archive of video interviews with staff members, interviews with contemporary artists, and family-friendly online art classes. 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Courtesy of Pixabay
J. Paul Getty Museum
Courtesy of Pixabay

The J. Paul Getty Museum (the Getty) in Los Angeles is comprised of two separate campuses. The primary museum, the Getty Center, houses primarily European paintings, drawings, and sculptures, including works by Vincent Van Gogh and Michelangelo. The secondary museum, the Getty Villa, displays art from Ancient Greece and Rome.

The Getty has many exhibitions from the collection available to peruse online, including featured highlights. You can also explore the museum with a 360° virtual tour via Google Arts & Culture. The Getty produces two podcasts plus has audio tours with images from past exhibitions. They also have a virtual library, free databases, and educational videos.

The High Museum of Art (the High), located in Atlanta, is one of the leading museums in the southeastern United States. The High’s permanent collection includes more than 17,000 artworks across seven areas: African art, American art, decorative arts and design, European art, folk and self-taught art, modern and contemporary art, and photography. In particular, it has one of the most significant collections of photographs from the Civil Rights Movement.

Thousands of works in the High Museum of Art can be accessed in their online collection. Google Arts & Culture also has an online exhibit of the High’s Civil Rights Movement collection. The High also has lots of informative YouTube videos discussing specific works of art, plus interviews with artists. 

High Museum of Art
Courtesy of High Museum of Art Facebook Page
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Courtesy of Alejandro Barba on Unspash

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. is the most visited natural history museum in the world. It has the largest natural history collection in the world, with over 145 million plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals, and cultural artifacts. Notable exhibits include the Hope Diamond and Star of Asia sapphire, the last known carrier pigeon, giant squid, a t-rex, and mummies.

The museum has an immersive 360° virtual tour where you can “walk” throughout the entire museum and explore the exhibits. There are also 2.8 million artifacts and specimens from the National Museum of Natural History in the public domain, including thousands available to view in 3D. The museum also has many video series and interactive educational websites for additional learning.

Two of NASA’s prominent research centers are currently offering virtual tours. Langley Research Center, located in Virginia, is the oldest of NASA’s field centers. It focuses primarily on aeronautical research but has also tested space hardware at the facility. Glenn Research Center, located in Ohio, focuses on developing science and technology for use in aeronautics and space. It has the world’s largest space environment vacuum chamber and the largest microgravity facility in the world.

NASA offers 360° virtual tours of both research centers, including videos and up-close images of certain areas. You can also check out virtual tours of other attractions like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. NASA also offers a few augmented reality apps for further exploration and education.

NASA Research Center
Courtesy of NASA Glenn Research Center Facebook Page

Virtual museum tours are a great way to keep yourself busy and entertained during this time spent at home. They allow you not only to virtually “travel” to the museum itself, but also to experience art and other interesting objects from all around the world (and even out-of-this-world). We hope they help you stave off boredom while also providing educational value!